By Tim Stannard/beIN SPORTS USA
Millions of dollars donated by soccer stars in effort to combat devastating effects of coronavirus pandemic
On the downside, a huge amount of key soccer figures have made the usual Sports Burst trick of mean-spirited barbs and sarcastic jibes very difficult to pull off when the sport returns one glorious day in the future.
However, on the infinitely more important bright side, there has been some incredible work done by some big names of the game doing what they can to combat this terrible coronavirus pandemic.
Let's start off as ever with Messi and Ronaldo.
The Barcelona player has reportedly pledged to give $1.08 million to a local hospital and research clinic in Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo along with super-agent, Jorge Mendes, is donating the same amount to a hospital in Portugal.
Pep Guardiola is donating over a $1 million for medical supplies for the city of Barcelona. Sergio Ramos said that he and his Real Madrid teammates are working with UNICEF - for whom Ramos is an ambassador - to offer financial support to bring medical supplies into Spain.
¡Este partido lo ganamos entre todos!— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) March 24, 2020
Únete al llamamiento de @unicef_es para conseguir más tests, guantes y mascarillas para el personal sanitario.
¡Envía un SMS con la palabra UNICEF al 28028 y actúa!
(Más info: link en la bio y esta noche en @El_Hormiguero) pic.twitter.com/E0BRLdDvzx
Premier League club, Watford, have offered their entire stadium and facilities to Britain's National Health Service (NHS) as it is situated next door to the local hospital.
Brighton and Hove Albion are giving 1000 tickets to NHS workers for when the crisis has passed and soccer returns. The club is challenging other teams to follow suit.
In a parallel timeline, Tottenham Hotspur are plummeting down the standings with Jose Mourinho metaphorically throwing his players under the bus in response. But in this very dark dimension, the Special One is working to support the elderly and vulnerable in North London.
It is both the worst of times and the best of times.
However, in the long term, not only is the coronavirus pandemic going to end the word 'crisis' in relation to sport when all this passes. We are all going to have to start being nice about sports stars, too.
Times are a'changing.
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NFL plans no changes to draft as team facilities closed down
While soccer continues to hunker down, the NFL still seems to want to push ahead with a normal schedule in very abnormal times.
Although the 2020-2021 season itself does not take place until September, the draft is due to start on April 23rd. Probably after a record number of mock drafts have been completed.
However, while the NFL is still pushing for this to take place, the team's GM's are not quite in agreement, arguing fairly reasonably in a memo that if athletes cannot leave their houses and travel across many parts of the US, giving them full physical assessments and running background checks is not ideal.
Meanwhile, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, has issued a mandate to teams that all club facilities should remain closed to all personnel from Wednesday onwards to ensure "a level playing field" in terms of preparation and training.
MLB's issues are considerably bigger considering the season was due to start on Thursday.
Discussions are underway this week to start planning for various scenarios, depending on timelines that are truly impossible to predict. One hope was to start the season in July with a bang and the All-Star Game and a record amount of beer being drunk and lethal snacks devoured to celebrate.